Sun safety reminders

Published 6:24 am Monday, July 2, 2018

It’s time to start thinking about summer. This season is a great time to relax and spend time with family. One of the best ways to spend time with your family is during summer vacations, but planning for those can be expensive and time-consuming. At one time or another, we have all heard that exercise has benefits. Some of the most common benefits we tend to hear about are how exercise can help lower your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, but the benefits only start there.

After a long winter, many of us want to spend as much time as possible outdoors. As you venture outside, remember to protect yourself from sun and heat, no matter your age.

Anyone who spends a considerable amount of time out in the sun with unprotected, exposed skin runs the risk of developing skin cancer. The fairer your skin, the greater your risk. Oftentimes, parents remember to put sunscreen on their young children but forget about protecting themselves. Older adults may choose not to wear sunscreen thinking, “the damage has already been done.” This is far from the truth.

The risk of getting skin cancer increases with age. The Skin Cancer Foundation estimates “that between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to 65 will have at least one skin cancer. The risk also varies among genders. According to the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, men’s risk of having basal cell cancers is double that of women. Men are about three times more likely to have squamous cell skin cancer compared to women.

Here are some ways to protect yourself from the sun:

• Avoid midday sun between 1-3 p.m.

• Wear wide-brimmed hats

• Use sunglasses

• Cover your skin with long-sleeves and pants

• Use sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher

• Be aware of all moles and spots on your skin, and let your health care provider know about any changes

• Have your skin examined during health check-ups

More information on sun safety is available at the Harlan County Extension office.

Lora Davidson is the Harlan County Extension agent for family & consumer sciences. Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.